Writer: DAN JURGENS / Artists: TYLER KIRKHAM and ARIF PRIANTO
*Note: There are some spoilers throughout this article, so don’t read if you haven’t checked out Action Comics #959!
If you’ve been paying attention to DC’s Superman developments over the last couple of months, you might have noticed that a Superman died, another Superman showed up, and now we also have a Clark Kent. As in Superman and Clark Kent are two different people. Cue the gasps of confusion.
Now, I’m of the mind that this Clark Kent is a Superman from the future to create an alibi for his past self so he can resume the identity of Clark Kent. If that doesn’t float your boat, maybe the new Clark Kent is some kind of clone sent by the mysterious shadowy figure in a Dr. Doom cloak that’s going to screw everything up later down the line. And while we’re being speculative, let’s not forget the time Superman split in two and we got two Supermans (Red and Blue).
Our new Clark Kent could also be an impostor (though there’s little hint of anyone with a motive for impersonating him), a robot (this actually happened in the 70s), or Martian Manhunter could be helping out. Whoever it is may or may not be invulnerable, as in the middle of the issue ‘Clark’ breaks his arm when falling into a hole. Now whether or not the arm is really broken could be up to debate, as about four pages later, Clark has his broken arm wrapped around Lex as he’s flown out of the hole and then uses his broken arm to prod Lex in the chest, while telling him that he is Clark Kent. The arm goes back to being broken at the end of the book.
This could be an accident or it could be a deliberate clue into our mysterious Kent’s identity. You be the judge. No matter how this ends up, I’m hoping that Jurgens will make it count!
Apart from developing the Clark Kent mystery, this issue was mostly filler . We got to see Lois comfort and lie to her son (as all good mothers do), Lex get back in the game using the power of his Mother Box (which has “god-like capabilities”), and Superman heat-vision Doomsday until a gas line breaks and blows a crater in Metropolis. Still, Jurgens spices this issue up with witty banter, awkward ‘I don’t know who you really are, but I’ll go with it for now’ moments, and rehashes his plot mysteries so we remember why we were so interested in reading this story in the first place.
Tyler Kirkham’s art creates beautifully gritty battle scenes that contrast so well with the soft peace of the Whites’ farmstead. Arif Prianto’s gorgeous colors add excellent depth to the piece. The art really helps unify the text, and I honestly liked paging through this issue without even reading, just to look at how pretty it is.
Looking to the future, I’m hoping that we discover who this Clark Kent is soon and what’s going on with identities and names in Metropolis. In the meantime, Superman’s certainly got his hands full with Doomsday, but I’m pretty confident he’s going to win, as I think most fans are. It’s the second time this guy is fighting Doomsday, he’s got help on the way (Wonder Woman!!), and it’s the third issue of his new run. Let’s be real folks, he’s not going anywhere. So Jurgens, get Doomsday dead already and bring on the answers!